Thursday, 31 December 2015

The A team strikes again..................December 3(Northumberland)
   Harry and I have been walking, camping and drinking for about 35 years. When he retired and I went part time we decided to have a walk out every Thursday, later changed to Friday for grandchildren sitting reasons. As friends retired they joined us and now on a full turnout there are eight gadgies who go wandering on Friday. 
  Today is New Years Eve, nobody else is out, partly because of the holidays, partly because the current storm, Frank, is playing havoc in the north, flooding partsof Cumbria again, Lancashire and Yorkshire.
  So Harry and I, known as the A team are having a quiet stroll from Bolam Lake, a walk recently covered.
  To get to Bolam Lake from Newcastle head north west on the A696 through Ponteland and Belsay. Just north of Belsay take the road on the right (NOT TO WHALTON) and follow signs to Bolam Lake. Park in the main  car park where there is an information centre. Parking is free but check the time the barrier closes.  (4pm today December 31st)
                                                 Today's car park and visitor centre, Bolam Lake.
Although it is not long since I did this walk a blog is a blog is a blog.............
The two of us walked down to the lake and headed south along the east side of the water.
                                                 Bolam Lake.
    In wintry sunshine the lake looked pretty, and cold. There were many small birds around, making good use of the feeders in the trees, and there were several families tiring out their small children, it is New Year's Eve after all, don't want your kids up late.
Leaving the park we walked a few yards down the Belsay road before turning right at the White Gate and crossing a couple of fields to West Cottage. Markers take walkers round the cottage and up a lane with some cut out rabbits and a deer in the right hand field. Target Practice?

Don't shoot the sheep, it's real.
After crossing a stream  we walked north west across a field  until we reached a metalled track (why do they call them metalled?) which took us close to and past Sandyford, the farm with line symmetry.
                                               Symmetrical Sandyford.
 Staying on the track we walked south west, past West Toothill and then, at the finger post, turned right and walked almost due north across the fields to East Shaftoe Hall.
                        The walled garden at East Shaftoe Hall, facing south
                                                     East Shaftoe Hall, also facing south.
Reaching the hall we turned left and headed for Shaftoe Crags. Having been here several times we didn't bother looking at the famous Devil's Punchbowl, though come to think of it maybe the bowl was full of punch for New Year.
                                      Remains of the ancient fort on the crags.
Following the track which turned north at Shaftoe Grange we came to the Salter's Nick, once used by carriers and drovers. Long before John Wayne drove the Chisholm trail Scots brought their herds down to English markets and English took their salt to Scotland for the porridge eaters.
                                                   Salters Nick
Through the nick we continued east to a finger  gate and headed north across sheep infested fields to Middleton Bank Top farm. We turned right and after a few hundred yards on the road found the finger post for Bickerton on the left and several square yards of deep mud round a feeding trough for cattle and placed strategically just inside the gate.Undeterred we continued roughly east, carefully opening and closing gates (which nearly all had markers), crossing The Devil's Causeway for the second time in the day (Roman Road, course of, nothing to see) until we reached Bickerton, an isolated small holding specialising in Guinea Fowl.
                                                      Guinea Fowl and sheep
                                                          The route is well marked.
Beyond Bickerton we crossed a stream, several fields with turnips and sheep, and came to the road. Turning left we came to Angerton Station which is not marked on the map. A muddy lane by the side of the house took us to the old and dismantled railway line.
                 Once Angerton Station. You can see the remains of the platform by the fence.
Not far down the railway we spotted the marker on the right which took us south past Angerton Steads . Instead of heading for the church we followed directions south west across fields close to Bolam Hall before arriving at a fine stile and information board.

A distant view of St. Andrew's Church. Saxon origins and very pretty. Well worth a visit.
                            This is Capability Brown territory.

                                                  Now that is a stile.
We turned left and walked back to the car park, well before it closed. No Herbie Spot today, we just kept going allowing an early home time to get ready for the New Year.

                                                                                           steps       miles
Nako                                                                                 14619       10.65

GPS                                                                                                      9

Contains OS data Copyright Crown Copyright and Database right 2015


Monday, 21 December 2015

Happy Christmas..............................
 Christmas Day this year (in the western church) falls on a Friday and non of us gadgies dare even suggest to our wives or partners that we disappear for the usual walk. Instead thanks to all the readers of the gadgie blog, glad to know somebody reads it and...................

vesele Vanoce
 joyeux Noel
  Frohe Weinachten
   gellukig kerstfeest
    glaedelig jul
     Feliz Natal
      счасtливого  Рождестав ..С Рождеством  Христовым      
       Shengdan Kuaile
         Καλά  Χρioτούyεvvα   

and a better 2016.
from the blogmeister on behalf of all the gadgies and gadgettes

Friday, 18 December 2015

Gefrin is more than an anagram of fringe, Walk on with Hope in Your Hart to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.Dec 18th (Northumberland)

  There is a hill in Northumberland with the lovely name "Yeavering Bell." The name comes from the Welsh "Gafre" meaning goat.  On the top of the hill are the remains of a hillfort. There was a settlement here throughout the Roman period and in Saxon times the royal palace of Gefrin existed north of the hill. Today's walk is from Wooler Common, over Humbleton Hill to Yeavering and back along St. Cuthbert's Way. Except that when we got to Wooler for breakfast in the Terrace Cafe it was raining so we decided to stay low and walk up Carey Burn from the Harthope Valley. But when we got there it was raining so we headed for the coast and crossed the causeway to Holy Island of Lindisfarne.
 Be warned. If you visit the island check the tide tables carefully and ensure you are off by the time advised or:
                          You will have to spend time in the refuge and you will become a sad story on Look North. Won't do your car much good either.

  Because of the approaching holidays, injuries or the lurgi* we are reduced to four gadgies: Ben, Brian, Harry and me, all four happy to have a gentle stroll round the island.
 The walk: There is a large car park as you approach the village having crossed the causeway. There is a charge. As we arrived about noon we decided to eat in the shelter on the edge of the park before setting off. It meant two things; we were fed and there was no need to carry rucksacks on the short walk.

 In summer the car park is very busy but today we could choose a spot.
Leaving the car park we turned left and walked past several cottages to the main street, turned right and walked past St. Mary's Church, built near the ruins of the ancient priory. Possibly it has 10th C origins and may have been built on the site of the original church where St. Cuthbert lived and died. He was then taken around the north before he was finally laid to rest in what is now Durham Cathedral.
                   St. Mary's anglican church Holy Island.
  We walked down to the stony beach and, crushing mussel shells on the way crossed to the small island which has the ruins of a monastic cell, originally from the 7th century but what is left is probably medieval.

    St. Mary's church and the priory ruins from St. Cuthbert's Island. The priory dates back to the 12th century.
Back on the "mainland" we headed for the harbour. Not much was happening.
 The navigation towers built by John Dobson about 1820
                           Priory Ruins
                                           Lindisfarne Castle
We continued round the harbour area passing the upturned boats used as sheds and headed for the castle.
                                  Upturned boats used a huts by the fishermen
                                   Not a climber's rope I suspect
                                                     The castle. Built in the reign of Elizabeth 1 it was a garrison for centuries. In 1902 it was rebuilt as a home by Edwin Lutyens for Edward Hudson. Now a National Trust property.
Beyond the castle are what are described as the best preserved limekilns in Northumberland. Limestone from the island was mixed in layers with coal from the mainland to produce lime for fertiliser, mortar or whitewash.

                                                             The limekilns, inside and out
Close to the limekilns is a ridge of large stones that look as if they could be man made but the curious thing about them is the large number of cairns that have been built. Maybe by visitors, they do not appear to have a purpose.

Piles of stones!
Moving on we made a stop at the well built hide on the lough. There were few birds on the water, mallards and teal and a pair of swans. Having watched for a while we followed the footpath, went through a gate and turned left back to the village on a muddy lane between the fields and back to the car park.
Changed we headed for the Anglers Arms at Weldon Bridge which had its usual selection of quality beers, Taylors Landlord, Youngs Gold and Directors.
A shorter walk than usual because of the weather but a good day for the birders. Apart from the ones mentioned above we saw cormorants, turnstones, curlews a heron and, birdsof the blog, a little egret and a short eared owl that quatered a field in search of dinner.
                                                        Little Egret
                                                       Short eared owl.
                                                                            steps                              miles
NAK                                                                  15595                              6.64
LIDL3D                                                             12953                              5.86
Ben's GPS                                                                                                  6

Contains OS data Copyright Crown Copyright and Database right 2015.

* lurgi  A schoolboy term for feeling poorly. Originating with The Goons**

** BBC radio comedy programme, 1950/60s

Friday, 11 December 2015

A walk in the woods...............Dec 11th(Northumberland)
 Today's walk is a repeat of another popular stroll round Thrunton Woods in Northumberland. Five gadgies; Brian, Dave, Ben, Harry and me set off for the start. As we approached the plantation it began to rain heavily so an executive decision was taken and we headed for Craster on the coast.
If you start from Newcastle and don't go off to Thrunton follow the A1 north and just beyond Alnwick turn off for Denwick and follow signs to the fishing village of Craster. There is a car park as you enter the village, with an information centre and toilets, which become increasingly important as you get older. The car park costs £2 for the day, a bargain.
                                             Info, toilets, car park.
                  The rain had not caught up with us but it was cold. Booted and hatted and coated we set off to the Shoreline Cafe in the village. Some had tea, one had coffee and one indulged in a bacon sandwich.
Inside the Shoreline. Notice the poster with its north east dialect words and phrases and with gadgie incorrectly spelt.  Translations are available for a fee.
The walk; the map to use is OS Explorer 332 Alnwick and Amble.
From the cafe we headed past the Jolly Fisherman pub to the harbour.
Popular with tourists for its crab lunches and sandwiches. Gets a mention in the "where to eat in the frozen north" columns of the quality papers.

                      Craster harbour. Once busy exporting stone for roads, now for pleasure and fishing.
We walked past the cottages that face the harbour and headed across the fields to Dunstanburgh Castle.

Two views of this once massive castle, home of the Gaunts and resting place for Queen Margaret of Scotland before she sailed off to Denmark.
We walked past the castle, which is always worth a view even if it is a ruin. Not far north of the castle is the famous anticline, mentioned in many a blog and probably photographed by many a geology student.
                         An anticline, arch shaped folded rocks!!!!
                And close by is a WW2 pill box.
The path skirts the edge of the golf course. It was a very windy day, the players were struggling to control their balls.
But there is a fine view of Embleton Bay to be enjoyed.

                                              The grand sweep of sandy Embleton Bay

We turned left along a footpath to Dunstansteads and turned left again along a fairly straight concrete track. It is supposed to another relic of WW2 when the area was used by the army. And at some point along the track we came across a rather dilapidated corrugated barn filled with bales of straw. It made a comfortable Herbie Spot. After yesterday's meagre rations we were back to normal. Mince pies, Yorkshire flapjacks, Ben's ginger biscuits and gorgeous chocolate cake from Mrs A. Ans all enjoyed with a view of Dunstanburgh Castle.
                          Planning the next move. Or looking for a needle.
Lunch over we continued on the concrete strip, past an old lime kiln and an unusual WW2 pill box.
                                              Lime Kiln
               It is constructed of concrete "sand bags"
At the end of the track we came to Dunstan Square, walked through it and continued across fields before turning south west for \the hamlet of Dunstan. The path through Dunstan takes a bit of finding; near a stone bus shelter is a cottage, Anchor Cottage. The narrow path is in front of it, it narrows further but eventually emerges on a short piece of road near Craster Tower.
 Craster Tower, mentioned as long ago as 1415, remodelled in the 19th century and now a holiday place.

                                              An arch near the Craster Tower
Just beyond the tower we turned left and walked a short way along the road before turning up the lane at Craster South Farm and heading south across fields below Hips Heugh, across another field and up a muddy lane to the back end of Howick Hall, home of the Grey family, famous for tea and the Great Reform Act of 1833.
                                              Hips Heugh, with trig point
We turned left down the road, left again to the hamlet of Howick, left on the road and then joined the Northumberland Coastal Path back to the car park in Craster.
Changed we headed for the Greys pub in Embleton which had several beers on offer including a delightful Blonde from Creedence Brewery in Amble, Alnwick ales and Tyne 9. We were entertained by a young woman who had had a long day in the pub and a restaurant. A works' do of course.

The Matrix MMXV ZZZ
                                                                                   steps                      miles
LIDL3D                                                                    20295                     9.17
NAK                                                                         22350                     9.52
Dave's USB                                                              18065                     8.55
  "   Nak                                                                    18508                      8.6
etrex                                                                                                         8.4
Brian's GPS                                                                                              8.52
Contain OS data Copyright. Crown copyright and data base right 2015

A couple of extra photographs of the castle, taken by Harry on his new camera, sharper and brighter than mine I think.